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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Senator Kamala Harris

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on her vote on the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to be Associate Justice of the Supreme Court:

“When Judge Brett Kavanaugh was first nominated, I said that he represents a direct and fundamental threat to that promise inscribed above the Supreme Court, ‘Equal Justice Under Law.’

In the weeks since then, the basis for my concern has been confirmed.

Senate Republicans used raw power to rush an unfit nominee onto the Supreme Court when the American people have more questions than answers about Judge Kavanaugh’s suitability to serve.

When Dr. Christine Blasey Ford came forward with serious and credible allegations of sexual assault, not only was she attacked by Senate Republicans, she was mocked by the President of the United States. The White House then prevented the FBI from investigating critical aspects of the allegations or interviewing key witnesses—not even permitting the FBI to interview Judge Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford.

As a former prosecutor, I have led investigations and I have tried these cases in a courtroom. I have spent countless hours with assault survivors. And when I look at what has occurred over these few days, we have fallen short in fulfilling our constitutional duty to fully evaluate Judge Kavanaugh’s nomination. This process has been a disservice to Dr. Ford. This process was a disservice to survivors everywhere. And this process has been a disservice to the American people.

The Judge Kavanaugh the American people saw before the Judiciary Committee does not have the character, the temperament, or the judgment to sit on the highest court in our land. His own partisan, evasive, dishonest, and aggressive testimony demonstrates that we cannot trust him to be a fair and unbiased jurist. He is simply unfit. The Senate should have put partisanship aside and demanded better.

Millions of Americans are rightly outraged at this hasty and unjust process, which threatens to cloud the legitimacy of the Supreme Court of the United States. And they are rightly fearful that Justice Kavanaugh will undermine Roe v. Wade, roll back access to affordable healthcare, and side with powerful and partisan interests over the most vulnerable.

It is now up to each of us to continue to fight for justice and equality and hold our government accountable.”

Bill Fletcher Jr.

I did not intend to watch Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee regarding her allegations of sexual assault on the part of Judge Brent Kavanaugh. I was busy preparing to head out of town. I figured that I would get the relevant parts of her testimony later in the day on-line. And, at the end of the day, I knew what she was going to allege.

For reasons that I cannot explain, something led me to turn on the television to watch the testimony. I found myself glued to the screen. Everything else seemed to get blocked out as she spoke, very convincingly and very passionately, about her experience. I fumed when she was asked questions by Republican hired gun and prosecutor Rachel Mitchell. Despite her pretend appearance as a sympathetic inquisitor, at the end of the day, as demonstrated this past Sunday in her memo on the case, she turned out to be anything but sympathetic.

Due to my schedule I was unable to listen to Kavanaugh’s response. Yet what struck me was the immediate response to Dr. Ford’s testimony by so many people across the political spectrum. Several commentators immediately noted that her testimony was devastating for the Republicans. Despite that, and true to form, the Republican propaganda machine went to work at once attempting to reverse the current, suggesting that Dr. Ford’s testimony and other allegations against Kavanaugh, were aimed at destroying the reputation of a good man.

But what about the good woman? What about someone who is facing death threats for coming forward? What about the person who has been ridiculed by the political Right?

As I wrote last week, the continuous suggestion that there must have been something wrong with Dr. Ford and others who have brought forward allegations against Judge Kavanaugh because they failed to raise their concerns earlier is specious. It is an allegation that can only be made by someone(s) who has not faced ridicule, harassment and self-doubt in response to their experiences with sexual harassment or assault.

And, to top this all off, Trump worries that the #MeToo movement and those who aligned with it, constitute a threat to powerful men.

Maybe Trump is correct. Indeed, maybe rich and powerful men who believe that they are the masters of the universe and masters over the bodies of women should be worried.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the former president of TransAfrica Forum.